International MBA co-op students at Brock should consider themselves part of a very select group.
For the past two years, they have been invited to participate in a mentorship program offered by the Canadian-Chinese Finance Association (CCFA).
The CCFA is a not-for-profit organization founded by Chinese professionals in Canada’s financial service and education institutions. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and Schulich School of Business at York University are the only other business schools involved in the CCFA mentoring partnership.
Fourteen Brock students participated in the program in 2008 while 13 students are involved this year.
Julia Zhu of the Co-op Programs Office assists with the program and says it provides an invaluable experience to international students who are eager to understand Canada’s business culture.
Many CCFA members who volunteer for this program are recognized as leading business professionals from Toronto’s Bay Street.
“Finance students in particular regard Bay Street as a dream job – this is an opportunity for them to make a connection to Canada’s finance capital,” says Zhu. “The CCFA professionals share their vast business knowledge and experiences to give students insight into Canadian business practices and operations. As well, the mentors offer information and advice that contributes to a student’s career development and network connections.”
Recent MBA graduate Yamil Salomon, of Venezuela, was among the first group from Brock to benefit from this one-to-one mentorship relationship. Salomon says that thanks to his mentor, a finance professional from RBC, he had the unique experience as a business student to be on the trading floor of one of Canada’s major banks.
“My experience with the Canadian-Chinese Finance Association mentorship program has had a tremendous impact in providing me with important insights of the financial markets,” says Salomon, who is now working full time for CIBC. “At the end, one of the most important lessons was learning how two different cultures have successfully managed the common goal of improving economic efficiency.”
Ti Wang, CCFA president, says the association and the mentors value the program.
“Working with students, CCFA mentors can also learn from students and build up friendships with future business professionals,” says Wang who is also the director, Fixed Income Derivatives at RBC Capital Markets. “CCFA can benefit from such programs in the sense that we care about our community and we like to share. It is our belief that we can achieve more if we all work together.”